Skip to main content
2:30 pm
you can look at it from the structural elements like the state. you can look at it from the individual, like the young man who decided to shoot the arch duke's. >> guest: that's right. i'll just have one historical comparison. if you look at things that are true to all three of the worst we choose to look at, they are very well-known cases. obviously, the war of the ring and why it happened and the causes as well but world war i that you just mentioned, but also the war in iraq is more recent in our times. one of the things that is in the "lord of the rings" as well as the other two cases, people have argued the worse were precipitated by week for an experienced and/or bad leaders quote unquote who showed bad judgment. world war i has decrepit empires and monarchical systems were present the best and the
2:31 pm
brightest who are in leadership. it was old, decrepit owner asked like the kaiser, the czar in russia who because they are there only to privilege a no-confidence are not skilled in diplomacy, not able to prevent the outbreak of world war i after that assassination you refer to. now iraq, not a partisan statement, but it has been said fairly that george bush 43 was not an experienced foreign-policy president. he listened to people who really wanted to precipitate the war. perhaps it would impetuously without appropriate evidence regarding wmds. that can be seen as an experienced leadership and later on the intelligence was proven not to have been there. here's the fun part, if you're trying to get these ideas and compare them, the "lord of the rings" has its own to talk about assault. remember the leader of the free peoples? actually come he has no official
2:32 pm
position. other leaders won't listen to him. the two monarchs i have reference tab in one case, the more powerful of the two kingdoms, dinosaur has gone mad. he has been seduced and the leader row on has been we which, another wizard i mention. kim dolph is fighting fiercely and pursuing diplomacy to get these leaders to listen to him and saying we are going to be really in a deep, dark place if we do not prepare properly for the war that's coming up for various complex reasons, the incompetence weakens the free people and makes them more prone to a word they will lose. notice the comparison with iraq in 1914 is really quite apt. you've got weak leadership and war ensues.
2:33 pm
when i say he cheated and made this all up about world war i. if he was alive he would get quite cranky for saying this. but how about that come you can't say anything about iraq. he never saw iraq. it has been 30 years after he was gone. postcode now, i would like to add with what you begin the book with, which is in this most recent election in iran that when there was considerable consternation about how the election when, that the state feared the "lord of the rings" in an effort to pacify people, but it didn't have that effect. what happened? >> guest: the tremendous irony is while the stakes, the ahmadinejad regimes to muster the people about. these movies are hotter than the sun. this is of course years after they came out in the west. since 2009, here is the irony.
2:34 pm
the state puts movies out there that they should have had some of their own people watched very carefully at first because what do more than anything else, the movies are about human or personal freedom. they argue in favor of democracy and honest citizen fair treatment sna combination of order and injustice would hardly be something you show people to calm them down. what happens of course is a boomerang effect. people look at these movies and the messages within them as we are to resist. we shouldn't be pacified. the court is faced sword and sorcery movie. the best bond movie ever made. return of the king won best picture. they were right to entertain, but they would've been better off showing top gun or something of schwarzenegger if they wanted to shut people down. poster thank you so much,
2:35 pm
patrick james are with us. again the book is "the international relations of middle-earth: learning from the lord of the rings" this has been the scholar circle. i am maria armoudian and we will see you next week. >> guest: thank you so much. >> and her work, "pat nixon," mary brennan recounts the life. mrs. nixon's recent release private documents. this is just over 15 minutes. >> welcome to the richard nixon presidential library and museum. my name is paul paul wormser anm acting director of the library. i appreciate all of you, into one american canoeing author top presentations. today we are very fortunate to
2:36 pm
have really the leading scholar on pat nixon who was born 100 years ago this year. mary brennan, who did much of the research here for her book, is the chair of the department of history at the university of texas and san marcos. her specialty is post-world war ii conservative movement then she has written to date three different books. that's been turning right at the 16th, capture of the gop, wives and mothers and the conservative fundament crusade against communism and of course the book with a fast run here, which is "pat nixon: embattled first lady." her book is an outstanding work
2:37 pm
and i look forward -- our thank you to help me welcome her on the stage to talk about her work. mary brennan. [applause] >> thank you, paula. such a great honor to be back at the nixon library. as paul said i did much of my research here and i feel very close to all the people here. there is so helpful to me in learning but i did about pat. i'd like to begin with the story. one evening in 1954, at the nixon's exit at a dinner at which president eisenhower was going to speak, they came across an indian woman on a bench outside the banquet hall. pat that she recognized the woman. they continued down the stairs. halfway down, pat remembered the woman in nature has been returned to where the woman was sitting. i spoke with the one men i asked
2:38 pm
if they had not met previously. when the woman replied they had, passed about her stay in the u.s. and acquired what she was doing in the hallway. the woman explained she was returning to india in a few days and hope to catch a glimpse of the president before she went home. pat then arranged for the woman to be given a seat at the dinner so that she could hear the speech as well as see the president. nixon then left the hall to continue onto previous engagement. i use this story to begin my talk because it exemplifies several key points i wish to make about pat nixon on her public role. more particularly, about her role as foreign diplomat. first, pat met the indian woman during one of her travels a second baby. for pat, the traveling she did it first and second baby was the best part of her job as a political wife. i can't, this was not the wife of ambassador or statesmen.
2:39 pm
she was just a young woman who had come to the united states but first come to see the second lady and then to study. pat didn't limit her contact her travels to important people. she treated everyone she met as though they were the most for person in the world. the people she met since her sincerity and responded to it. third, she was happiest in her role when she could take action. the party to nixon's rack in the engagement they were going to were not as important at that moment is getting this visitor from india ac at the presidential dinner. and the greater scheme of things, this is a small act, but at that the lasting impressions both on the woman involved and on the women at the table she was eventually seated at. that's how we know about the event through a letter that someone who she ended up sitting with responded and wrote to pat later about it.
2:40 pm
for pat, politics was her job and when she didn't always enjoy. on occasion she was proud of her work in helping to raise funds for the party, she found many tasks frustrating and mindnumbing. by the end of the first term, she expressed jealousy of her friends reentry into the workforce. she wrote, i would like to do part-time work rather than use like adding about unexpected to do. the thrill of meeting famous men and women and the clamor of white tie dinner is at white house wore off, leaving only the tiring routine of confidence away from her girls, i'll chatter with women she did not always fight. for someone who worked hard her entire life, and she had worked hard her entire life, the situation could at times be intolerable. it is not the long hours, physical challenges the reader down, she resented not been useful, not doing something meaningful. perhaps that is why foreign travel appeal to her.
2:41 pm
during her trips overseas, she thought she was playing an important role. she was representing american interests abroad. her introduction came during her first or second baby when president eisenhower sent his vice president on a tour beginning in asia and continuing to parts of the subcontinent. during the fall of 1853, president eisenhower told the vice president he should take up with him. she realized this trip is going to be work, but it's going to be interesting. that describes a trip the same words in a letter she wrote to her good friend the next month. along with the minimal entourage that included a military aide, state department representative, flight surgeon, three press representatives, two secret service agents, nixon's administrative agent and the only other woman on the trip,
2:42 pm
rosemary was, the next since embarked on a 42,000-mile journey. and a little more than two months, the group visited over 15 countries, attended hundreds of state dinners and participated in innumerable ceremonies and spoke to millions of people. the state department had briefed the group and in many countries and people they would be visiting. pat took these briefings very much to heart. in fact, one member of the group told a reporter a few years later that pat had served as the groups walking encyclopedia. whenever they needed information , they would always turn to her because she would have the information. her has been concentrated on larger mission of reassuring american, asian allies on eisenhower's policies and attitudes toward communism. while he did that, pastoralist to go make the people. neither he nor pat had ever been particularly interested in her former socializing, so he
2:43 pm
requested dinner speaking to a minimum so they could meet with as many different people as possible in the countries they visited. i recognize there is a job to be done as she wrote in a travel diary, but could not help but be caught up in the thrill of traveling. even her sadness of leaving the girls did not completely overwhelm her excitement. the harsh reality of such extensive travels combined with the little girl's enthusiasm for seeing new and different sites leave on trent leaps off the pages of her diary. she gleefully recorded her ceremony she crossed the equator for the first time. king neptune and wore the crown designed by the crew. what fun. attendance at a female frolic with the hostess arranged all-male entertainment quite risqué. on the 14th of october, she detailed experience in a village in new zealand where he had to
2:44 pm
take part in a dialogue and actions of the native century. they both had to participate in the custom of nose rubbing. although she said she felt faint when some of the disheveled oldsters lined up for a session of nose rubbing, nixon's want to be good sports, so we took it. she had more problem because she also visited the kitchen where the women were cooking the food they were going to be eating later on inside the kitchen was so dirty and unsanitary tissue is actually quite leery of eating the food given to them and have learned the art of pushing food around on her plate and cover things up so much that she was eating without having to do anything. this had proved to be the case i'm all overseas trips and extensive nature of the vice presidential years. although their schedules are crowded and the conditions could be challenging, pat continued to be thrilled that visiting the countries.
2:45 pm
and early 1956, she ends up five attended the inauguration of the new bristling president in rio de janeiro, a city she called the most spectacularly viewed city she'd ever seen and read parties at the palace were fabulous. she did find it changed quite a terrific adjustment. they went in january so there is something that is 75-degree climate change when they went in one day. in july of that year, the nixon's one on another world went to her. she explained in a letter that this is a fast and full trip and in the course of one day they were in three countries, thailand, pakistan and turkey. although her has been met with leaders, she again had a schedule of events. in the end she wrote it was a busy but happy in such a short time so much could be accomplished. in november 1958, the couple traveled to london for pat was much of the press with her natty
2:46 pm
wardrobe and unspoiled manner. the following year they went to the soviet union and poland. in moscow, dick confronted khrushchev's in the famous kitchen debate where they argued communism and capitalism and an exhibition of american consumer goods. but once again had a wrote agenda of visiting orphanages and hospitals. he might've gotten her headline, the pats interaction was so the women and children also made a lasting impression. they're all kind of pictures of her handing out candy and bubble guns that it made it to life. more importantly, her pointed question to nikita khrushchev about his biceps and from festivities lied to mrs. khrushchev's is also as another officials suddenly. at the events in the rest of the visit. he told one reporter should not hope helped that the woman along on a diplomatic mission.
2:47 pm
they can make friends in different ways than men. she was overwhelmed by the outpouring of cheers that greeted the nixon's as they travel through the streets of poland. padua sundays they rattled had to fight back tears according to a news account at their arrival in poland. when pat became first lady almost 10 years later, her love of travel a recognition the import of allowed her to play only increase. the wonder shark traveler remained me to surface, but she had become much more of where the power of her position. during her five years, pat visited 32 countries around the world, central more than once. she accompanied her husband and set new precedents by traveling solo as a representative of the united states to the maturation of william tell bair of liberia in 1972 and attending the swearing-in ceremony of ernesto
2:48 pm
gesell. she is not the same practices utilized in the 1950s. she strove to make as many friends as possible for herself in the country. all her desire to make friends everywhere might've had political consequences, at a restaurant a sincere desire to look beyond the dignitary to the people of the country she visited. in part because of the connection with her own words. she never forgot who she was or where she came from. she was the daughter of a truck farmer who has supported herself since she was a teenager. at one point during her husbands administration, she told the childhood friend that even though she occasionally felt inadequate to the task that she was only pat ryan from artesia, and quote the people she met were so gracious she felt comfortable continuing the important work she and her husband were doing. in addition, she understood what
2:49 pm
a thrill it was for someone to shake the hand of a second or first lady of the united states to receive a letter from the white house. other results are her first trip as i got lady to her white house years attended dinners and visits with her husband as she was supposed to, but she also insisted on having her own separate itinerary that went beyond just the government-sponsored or approved women's tees and socials. she made it a point to seek out the institutions that affected women and children. after the business teacher, pat jotted her reactions in short hand on official schedule. during her vice presidential trip, she went with mr. silva to see the sister home for the aged. she commented the old people were thrilled because nobody had been deceived them. and the philippines she visited an orphanage in a training center for learning trade, which can be done in the home.
2:50 pm
in south korea she went to republic of korea division hospital and gave out candy at cigarettes. her brief comments indicated the state of things. quote, in heat, wanted on army cots with army blankets. soiled that close, and quote. when her first tour a second lady visited over 200 institutions providing industry, training women to support themselves and their women, setting up neighborhood kitchens and dispensaries. because the group made unscheduled stops, she felt they were able to get the real picture. she concluded in general people can sense when another person is friendly and genuinely interested. that is what they tried to do, to show the people they were visiting that they were interested in them as people. someone once asked pat why she could appear to be so interested in all these diverse people
2:51 pm
should not she said that's because i am. she said that the person i'm talking to when i know they have a story to tell and i want to hear that story. all i'm doing is paying attention to them while i'm talking them. pat tucker while as representative of the united states very serious way. she saw herself as part of an important official change. she start he made something of an impression on the people she met. one constituent explained to pat that her husband was on an around the world business trip and had run into what he called the pat nixon trail. he wrote his wife that pat really bring about on this part of the world at a time when americans were not very popular. an american couple living in india sets had a similar letter after her return, praising the couple for bringing a fresh understanding of america to the people of india. president eisenhower praised as nixon's further work on the tray.
2:52 pm
even the american press notice pat roles on the tour. we explain although she did not make any speeches or carry on high policy discussions, she bore her full share of the workload. her love of travel, openness to new people and places in a quick smile endeared her to the people she met and made her a wonderful, unofficial ambassador for the united states. in fact, in 1857, journalist girl may so labeled her this country is most female ambassador of goodwill after camp in a pat and dick in italy and watching as she tarred peasants criticize them. without talking politics, pat managed to win over not only ragged women, but also sultan mohammed cinque granted her an
2:53 pm
unprecedented formal audience. her goal was to convince people we enjoy being here and are genuinely interested in them. as it was not the only ones to see the importance and her role. by the time of the soviet trip, the last of their presidential one had one even "the new york times," calling her a diplomat in high heels, the reporter described her as self-made, orderly and precise. the capitol press club, an organization of african american news correspondents presented her with his international relations award in 1957, recognizing her goodwill activities among the people of eight african countries, end quote. they chose her as america's outstanding ambassador of goodwill. deputy attorney general william rogers wrote during a trip in europe during which had been parted for requests.
2:54 pm
he praised her important significant role in public affairs. of all her responsibilities, the travel not only fulfilled her childhood dream, but also allowed her to feel useful and necessary part of an import enterprise. when her husband had run for office, nixon had been a team and pat had been a crucial player. as his career took off in different directions, pat found himself relegated to sidelines. her work reinforced she was still significant, not just her husband's career, but something larger. when she became first lady, foreign travel whether it has been her on her own continued to play this vital role for pat, allowing her to participate in a positive way at a time when many other paths for limited. past bench much time working on political aide and did not value
2:55 pm
advice. they treated her as a prop to be used for diplomacy only. her domestic agenda did not ignite passion and the public. plushy face challenges from a shift in social order at the women's movement spread throughout the country. pat supermom and super wife face ridicule from a feminist press for letting her have them push her into politics. the more conservative press praised her willingness to stand by her husband. pat the women hated the increase lack of privacy among for something meaningful to do. traveling abroad took her away from frustrations at home and allowed her to be herself. even her husband who excluded her from most important policy decisions did recognize her as an asset when it came to foreign policy. years later he told frank gannon during a series of interviews that pat always handled herself very properly, even during sensitive diplomatic conversations that she might an
2:56 pm
advert you over here. he asked me and she listened and nodded, but never made comments have around. at the same time, however, he relied on her to notice things he did not because she was very observant. getting past some responsibility and small diplomatic tasks also provided nixon with cover from the increasingly vocal feminist who demanded more available a government policy. she was a woman he could trust to do only what he expected her to do. pat's foreign travel and did more than feed her desire for adventure of visiting new places. it was a way of reconnecting with her husband and to the dick and pat t-mobile. she'd never been more repetitive his life and work than when they travel together could certainly circumstances had changed. now they have a huge entourage of aid, security personnel and reporters and feelings towards the u.s. had hardened over years.
2:57 pm
there has been safe and abilities demonstrated by ability to send her a fire southwest of gratified her. she seized the opportunities to prove herself. pat's trip to peru in 1970 epitomize her value as a foreign ambassador. on may 31st, 1970, an earthquake measuring 7.75 and the richter scale devastated about half of peru, killing at least 50,000 people and displacing hundreds of thousands of others. mudslides follow the initial quake causing further damage. homeless, injured and starting from the survivors rushed to the coastal areas in search of medical attention and news of loved ones. as news reports filtered to the united states, president nixon promised $10 million in aid as well as promising to love army and navy helicopters but they search and rescue mission. the american public moved by the devastation had begun donating supplies and money to be sent to people of peru.
2:58 pm
similar empathetic, pat wanted to help. during a weekend at camp david, the couple discussed the situation and raise the possibility of delivering donations from the american people down to peru. a week later she flew to peru and the consuelo gonzalez, wife of the peruvian president alina to deliver donations, visit the injured and homeless and review the damage. she took with her over 18,000 pounds of clothing, blankets and other goods as well as cash donations. during her brief stay, she accompanied on a tour of the most devastated region, flying on a small plane sitting on a repurposed kitchen chair with a seatbelt. back in amid the rubble, she had children and offered comfort to those who have lost everything. her genuine concern and sympathy did much to ease the tension that had existed between the u.s. and peru sent the dissension of power.
2:59 pm
the main newspaper in limine noted that profound significance of paths visited. in her human work and identification were suffering the peruvian people come the editorial continued she had gone beyond the norm of international courtesy. the people of peru appreciated the understanding and concern she demonstrated in our sorrow. they awarded her the grand cross of the sun. even the "washington post" in which really had much positive to say admitted she had threaded her way among all potential sources of trouble admirably and with skill. epitomizing the human response acquired by the tragedy to editorialists continued she succeeded in communicating to peruvians she met a genuine desire to help and to have done so for great paths, for which
3:00 pm
all she deserves much credit. if the trip to peru show the potential for pat to serve as goodwill ambassador, her trip the following year to africa despite her determination to break the restraints of the first lady role. in early january, 1972, pat sent out on an eight day, 10,000 miles trip to the african continent where she visited liberia, ghana and the ivory coast. ..
3:01 pm
the wife of the johnson publishing company which published ebony and jet in addition to official meetings, press conferences and speeches before political parties, the africans treated pat and her entourage to a while wind of dinners and receptions. she took her responsibilities seriously. julie noted that pat snuck a. from the family activities on christmas day to go over their briefing notes and organize her thoughts for the upcoming trip. although the state department and staff of the west wing prepared remarks for her, she went over them, making changes she felt necessary and highlighting pounds she wanted emphasize in liberia, she pleased her hots by noting how impressed she was by the considerable development that had occurred since her last visit in 1957.
3:02 pm
ghana, she traveled out into the hills to pay her respects to 83-year-old chief who she had met during the vice presidential visit. he told her she had forgeed a friendship between the american and the ghanaian people that, quote, not even a lion do break. she delivered a rare public political speech before the assembly in each of the three countries-pat spoke with leaders about her husband's upcoming tariff to -- trip to china, explaining he was trying to open a dialogue, and she reiterate america's promise of financial assistance and announced the creation of two grad walt scholarships for women to travel to the united states to study. not her official pronouncements that earned her the accolades, either in the country she visit or back home.
3:03 pm
it was her warmth, enthusiasm, general win appreciation of and affection for the people she met in monrovia, she said she could not wait to meet people. she did that. she waded into crowds, shaking hands, and giving hugs. at the inauguration ceremony she gave the president a cheek-to-cheek embrace. he called her, quote, woman with strength of spirit and fortitude of character, when a group of women presented her with cloths, rather than just slipping it under her chair, she stood up and began to tie it around her waste. the women got up and came up to help her and dressed her in the traditional clothing. pat's delight in her outfit and her willingness to 0 model spoke volumes out about her respect
3:04 pm
for the people she was visiting. and you can see this wonderful picture of pat in a blue head address. -- head ress and it speaks volumes about our she felt about her ability to go out and meet these people and play a role and show them respect. and you can see in her eyes it was -- this was very much something -- it wasn't something she was putting on. it was something that she believed in very deeply. all of the news photos show pat with a huge grin on her face. whether she is walking a traditional tribal dance, listening to a speech or traveling in a motorcade or actually participating in a tribal dance which she does in another photo. pat returned home triumphantly. heralded by the press. she was declared african queen
3:05 pm
for a week, and they loved her in monrovia. pat would make one more solo trip as first lady. in 1974 she attended the nation craig of the president of brazil and made a stop in venezuela. her credentials as diplomat had been well-established. but the media paid little attention the first ladies travel itinerary, which is a shame because venezuela is where the nixons had the terrible experience during the vice presidential years and this is one of the first trips back there, and even though the venezuelan press noted this, the american press really did not relate the significance of her trip to caracas. most of the attention was on her husband's political problems back home. now, 1972 was the highlight year for pat in january she goes --
3:06 pm
africa has this wonderful experience, the so manies back from africa, and in february, they prepare for the groundbreaking trip to pekeng and then moscow. while dick met with dip dim diplomatic leader, she attended culture events. six meetings, open communication between countries. while pat's effort helped to forge good feeling among people involved in the international relations. dick nixon, a determined anticommunist in the 1940s and 50s, had been working on ending
3:07 pm
ending the close war. once he game president, he and his national security advisor, henry kiss kissinger explored different forms of communication, and then china extended an invitation to the president to visit pay peking. because of kind's self-imposed isolation, one of a limited group of westerners who had ever been there. as a result, there was tremendous worldwide interest in the trip. when china decided to allow the american press to tag along with the president and mrs. nixon, people around the world followed the february 1972 journey with tremendous interest. dick had to remained sequestered with the chinese leaders much of the time. pat was the representative who
3:08 pm
introduced americans to china, represented the american people to the chinese. if she had not already realized what a great cement had, the briefing papers from the state department made it clear. emphasizing her role and the unique opportunity the trip represented to re-establish communications between the women of china and america, the state department remind her that she would be the first leading american woman the chinese had met. intensive u.s. television coverage provided her with unprecedented opportunity to affect the way americans viewed the chinese women. pat intensified the normal homework routine she followed before any trip. studying her state department briefing paper carefully,
3:09 pm
reading quotations from mao, learning useful phrases of chinese and wig about her schedule. on the trips and the 1950s and as first lady, pat insisted on attending more than the usual lady's teas and receptions. she asked to visit hospitals, schoolsers and other facilities that helped women in the poor. this time she had very little control over where she could go or meet. she need not have the worried. although she felt isolated from the public, she won over the people she did meet, and dealt diplomatically with those who tried to convert her. correspondent helen thomas recounted that when pat's guide, invariably young women from the revolutionary committee, would try to engage her in a political discussion, she would smile and say, oh, yes, i'm acquainted with his philosophy. from the cooks in the kitchen of the hotel, and the vice-chairman
3:10 pm
of the people's commune to premiere premier himself, the china melted under pat's enthusiasm. during her visit to the kitchen, with 115 cook, she gladly sampled their creation, including a fiery stuffed pickled squash. she impressed the reporters. they couldn't eat it. sitting next to the premier, she commented about the pandas. he asked her if she wanted one. pat rarely accepted a gift. nixon also realized that tiking to the chinese leader would worry the soviets so when they came back from the visit to china, he earned they would go back to the soviet union. as a result in late may, early
3:11 pm
june, 1972, pat, dick, and entourage traveled to moscow. dix met with leaders and pat was accompanied by mrs. brezhnev. the soviet leaders took a lesson and had their wives there. pat took a ride on the subway, visited will school children, and toured a department store, and attended a russian circus where a performing bear startled her and the press reported on it in the american papers, pat won over both the russian people and the reporters who accompanied her. the russians as well as the pols during the couple's visit there appreciated the first lady delight with the ballet and the circus, voice affection for school children she met, her easy manner with the wives of the soviet leaders. in fact at one point, mrs. nixon
3:12 pm
grabbed the hand of mrs. brezhnev, who was unused to the throng of reporters and crowds constantly surrounding the women and rather frightened. pat's determination to stop and talk with the people who had come out to meet and see her, also earned her the affection of the population. one incident exemplified her'm effect on the people. pat attended a recital. when the crowd applauded at she went to leave, the walked toward them, intending to shake hands with the people. her interpreter attempted to lead her back to the official party. she refused to join the group until the waded into the crowd of men and million, who responded warmly, some men taking off hats and others touching her hand. for their part, reporters were extremely complimentary. the globe described her as a remarkable saleswoman. the london daily mail claimed
3:13 pm
she was the best boost for womanhood since they invented lipstick, and the herald reporter got a good feeling seeingmy meteorologist nixons and mrs. brezhnev. throughout the trip, reporters had been forced to battle the soviet police who were guarding mrs. nixon. the situation came to a head on the there'd day as pat walked through the store, hundreds of people crammed on to ball copies or stood? aisles to wave and catch a glimpse of her. reporters trying to cover the event found their views blocked by the soviet security detail. pushing became shoving, fists flying. pat saved one reporter from being man-handled by a soviet officer by pulling reporter to him and offerer a lick ofly her ice cream cope. and so we end with another story
3:14 pm
that reinforces pat's love of travel. her openness to all of the people she met, including reporters. and her willingness to take whatever action was necessary. from her youngest days when she listened to her father's stories of his adventures, through her years as a single woman, taking off on small excursions, to the early years of her marriage to dick, as they shared they're love of visiting new places, travel intrigued pat, invigorated her, and provided her with opportunities she might not have had otherwise. travel also provided pat with the means to transform the first lady roz role. although observers at the time often criticized her for failing to focus on a specific cause the way lady bird johnson had, or mirroring too closely maimey icen mother, she expected the behavior of first ladies. she traveled more than any other first lady up to her time and
3:15 pm
accompanieder his husband on his groundbreaking trip to china. press report of her enter actions with the chinese as she toured the country offered the americans a glimpse into the formerly closed society. pat refused to limit her itinerary to acceptable lady formal teas and receptions. she wanted to visit hospitals and schools. her determination to meet with wounded american soldiers during a visit to south vietnam meant she became the first first lady to travel to a combat zone. pat showed the first lady was not just a ceremonial prop. pat also traveled successfully on her open. her journey to peru following the earthquake brought humanitarian relief to the citizens citizens of lima. when she attended the inauguration of libraria, she became the first wife of a sitting president to serve as an official representative to a foreign country.
3:16 pm
pat's enthusiastic response the people she met in south america and africa, served a diplomatic purpose for her husband and secured an opening for future first ladies to explore. in fact, pat's initial success with handling diplomacy on her own led to her taking additional solo trips during already husband's time in office. like almost everything else connected to right-hand nixon, pat's expansion of the role of first lady was lost in the midst of watergate. rather than celebrating her accomplishments, pat spent her last months in the white house avoiding reporters, and urging her husband to fight on. instead of the press inquiring about her next trip or commenting on her appearing in a pant suit in a woman's magazine, another first, the focus was on the growing scandal. even pat's obituary 20 years after the resignation concentrated more on watergate than on her activities as federal lady. pat never came to love politics or the political life.
3:17 pm
but as she had her entire life, she made the best of a bad situation. building on her love for travel, her natural abilities, both her innate openness and keen observation skills, pat opened the door for the first lady to become an essential part of her husband's foreign policy team. she finally did find her niche in politics. thank you very much. [applause] >> i would be happy to answer any questions if you have any questions. nobody has any questions? >> when you were doing your research for the book, did you contact the daughters for any input or insight that helped you gather any additional information that you didn't already find when you were at the library? >> julie actually helped know game access to the rest of her mother's papers, and to helen
3:18 pm
brown's paper, and i corresponded with her by e-mail and asked if she would be willing to do an interview, but she said she had said everything she wanted to say in her book and unless i had a specific question, that she really didn't want to be interviewed. and i could not contact her sister. >> hi. cue expand also more on the first lady's agenda and why you didn't think it sparkedded excitement. >> she became a first lady at a difficult time. she had an agenda. her first cause was volunteerism, she was also very interested in reading, and the volunteerism was something very dear to her because she did very much believe in people helping other people. but you have to remember this is 1969. the country is in tremendous turmoil. and so something like volunteerism was not going to be
3:19 pm
a cause that was going to catch on with the general public. she ran into obstacles. it was a very tense situation between the west wing and east wing me and ran into issues of trying to explore and find herself. she did have other things she did domestically. although jackie kennedy gets tremendous amount of credit for redecorating the white house, pat actually did more of that. she hired a protocol officer from the state department, brought him over, and the two of them went around the country making deals with different people, different museums to be able to get period pieces, correct period pieces in the white house, and to restore the white house to the point that when jackie kennedy came back for their first time since she left in 1964, she comment on how wonderful a job pat had done redecorating. i think it also took her a little while to find her stride,
3:20 pm
and so i think she was just kind of moving in that direction. amid all of this -- she had the double whammy of this shifting historical circumstances and the problems in the administration in terms of being able to define her own path. i think the other reality is that she actually felt most comfortable traveling and meeting people and doing kind of -- being able to get out amongst the people. >> she was embattled. did you mean when dealing with watergate or after the presidency? >> well, i have to be honest with you and i don't know if the press would appreciate my saying this, but when i wrote the manuscript in battle, first lady what the chapter that dealt with
3:21 pm
her problems within the white house. the press -- i named the whole book, pat nixon, every woman in the white house, and i thought that's what she represented. they liked the embattled first lady name better, so the press wins. that is how that happened. >> miss brennan, will you kindly speak to pat ryan before she was mrs. nixon? >> certainly. when do you want me to -- talk about her childhood? >> yes, and i was also -- respond -- was she a teacher? >> yes. she -- actually, she had a very -- when i said at the end that if she had her whole life, she made the best of a bad situation. her mother died when she was 12, and she had two brothers and her father. she helped to take care of the house and to kind of keep everything in order and then go
3:22 pm
to school, where she got very good grades. end up through a fluke of circumstances she and her two brothers all graduate from high school at the same time. she got skipped ahead. one of her brothers broke his arm, somebody else had some other problems and they were all graduating at the same time. so they graduated from high school right around the time their father became seriously ill. so they had to each find jobs to help support the farm, eventually deciding they needed to sell the farm. they went on and then they were going to decide who is going to college. all have to of them wanted to go to college. they decided that the one brother had a scholarship, he would go to college fit. the other two would work. so she worked to help support the brother, and at one point there was a couple that hired her to drive them across the country, and the idea was she would drive them across the country to new york, visit her father's relatives, and they would buy her a plane ticket back and that's how they would
3:23 pm
pay her. when she got to new york and met the relatives, they ended up offering her -- one of them offered her a job. so she lived in new york by herself for a year. she worked in the hospital there. she had tremendous adventures if you can kind of take this -- read between the lines in her letters to her brothers. she was having a great time. she flirted with the doctor. according to some of her relatives, who wanted to marry her. she had adventures -- she was working in a tuberculosis hospital. and dug snowstorm they would go our and go sled sliding and somebody said aren't you afraid you'll get ill? she said, no, i think about the young boys and how this will make them feel. eventually her brother wrote to her and said we save up enough money, come back. she came back, went to college she was working on a business
3:24 pm
degree. she hoped to be what we call today a personal shopper. she real realized it would take too long for thor work her way up and she was a very practical woman. so she decided to get her teaching certificate as well. so she did. and got a job in whit meg whitman -- whittier, for the first time in here life she had enough money and enough freedom to be able to take little trips she wanted to take. she had some girlfriends she would go and visit that she wrote to. she would go off an little excursions. but it's also while she's there that one of the older teachers says to her, we're doing a community play, and it would probably be a good idea if you were in this play, and that was back in the day when an older teacher told you should do this, she did it. she had been in theater before. dick nixon was in the theater
3:25 pm
group, and they met. now, i will also encourage you that if you have not been able -- the other part of the pat nixon exhibit you need to see, to see a different side of dick nixon, is to read the excerpts from the lot of letters. we have a ten dependency to think of di -- one of the most eye-opening experiences of my research was reading the love letters between the two of them. there was a -- all of these letters are playful, writing back and forth, and he was really chasing her. and he would sometimes -- she would need a ride into los angeles so he would take her into los angeles and maybe she was going to meet somebody else there, you know. but he would take her and then they would go on long drives, and they would go 'the coast, and they would each take a book, and then they would get out of the car and perhaps have a picnic lunch and then read their open book. it was a very quiet kind of
3:26 pm
dating. but eventually it progressed into something else, and they agreed to get married. so it was a very -- it's not necessarily -- it's kind of one of those things that marriage goes through, i think, that in the beginning you have this very romantic kind of relationship. even when he was first elected congress and he writes her letters from the first trip abroad, the letters are filled with all of these visions. this is what is going to happen when we come back. they had this wonderful nursery. we can take trisha down there. she can go the. we'll go see all the sights of europe. for years he actually promised to take her to europe. didn't actually happen as a vacation until 1963. but he was still promising it was going to happen. so does that answer your question?
3:27 pm
>> i think we have time for just one more question. >> i'm curious to know a little bit about her family. born in nevada? what did her father do there? why did they move to california? what were his parents like, her mother's parents like? >> okay. now we're getting into a tricky area. so, her father was the son of irish immigrants, and he had traveled around as an itinerant -- he had done a lot of different things help had been on a merchantship. he would talk about hissed a vaccine tours. he had been a miner. her mother was a first generation german immigrant, and her mother had been married before. he mother was -- came over as a
3:28 pm
child with an aunt and ended up staying, and eventually married a man named bender. they moved up to what -- i think it was north dakota. and he was killed in a flood up there. actually i tried very hard to find information about the flood that killed him. i called the archives. i called the -- spoke the archivist and could not find a tremendous amount of information about her mother's fur husband. from that major she had two children, and she then -- then she married will ryan, and they moved to nevada. actually several little up toes in nevada, and he was miner. but she her mother did not want to lose another husband to mining so she was constantly
3:29 pm
putting pressure on hmm to give up the mining rights, to become something else, a farmer, more stable and less dangerous, so eventually they moved to southern california, where he continues to have dreams of kind of finding gold, doing something that would get them other than being a truck farmer. but it doesn't happen the way he want it to. >> thank you, all and let's give mary brennan a hand. [applause] >> i had date with other religious cults, and it had been my -- i found in some case when they're leading such a group, they make certain

Book TV
CSPAN February 17, 2013 2:30pm-3:30pm EST

Mary Brennan Education. (2012) 'Pat Nixon Embattled First Lady.'

TOPIC FREQUENCY Eisenhower 5, Iraq 4, Mary Brennan 4, India 4, Pat 4, Mrs. Nixon 4, Poland 3, Liberia 3, Moscow 3, Nevada 3, New York 3, Peru 3, Europe 3, Dick Nixon 3, Mrs. Brezhnev 3, Johnson 2, Julie 2, London 2, Monrovia 2, Ghana 2
Network CSPAN
Duration 01:00:00
Scanned in San Francisco, CA, USA
Source Comcast Cable
Tuner Channel 17 (141 MHz)
Video Codec mpeg2video
Audio Cocec ac3
Pixel width 704
Pixel height 480
Sponsor Internet Archive
Audio/Visual sound, color

disc Borrow a DVD of this show
info Stream Only
Uploaded by
TV Archive
on 2/17/2013